This barrel-chested, broad-winged raptor is the largest of falcons and is an extremely powerful flyer. The tail is quite long, so the wingtips only extend about two-thirds of the way down on resting birds. There are three color morphs: white, gray, and dark, with the gray being the most commonly encountered in North America. White morph: White overall with varying amounts of black markings on the upperparts and black wingtips. Bands on tail are indistinct or lacking. Dark morph: Dark gray-brown with pale streaks on the underparts. The head has a dark hooded appearance. The tail has many fine bands. In flight, the undersides of the flight feathers are pale, creating a two-toned effect with the dark wing coverts. Gray morph: Gray upperparts with an indistinct mustache mark. The upper breast is spotted, while the belly and undertail coverts are barred. The tail has many fine bands. Like the dark morph, the undersides of the flight feathers are paler than the wing coverts, and the wingtips are slightly darker. Juveniles are more brownish gray, with pale feather edges that create a scaly pattern, and extensive streaking on the underparts.
Length: 51 (cm) Wingspan: 122 (cm)
A harsh kyak kyak kyak kyak.
Tundra, grasslands, agricultural fields, coastal areas.
Often sits atop a lone tree in otherwise open country. Wintering birds found in the lower 48 states are often associated with wintering goose flocks.
Captures large birds, such as grouse and waterfowl, in the air or on the ground. Occasionally takes small mammals.
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